LARKSVILLE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- A unique method used by a Luzerne County police department to fight crime proves successful.
They used social media and classic police work to help shut down an alleged prostitution operation.
The Larksville Police Chief tells Eyewitness News the tactic worked so well that the woman running the alleged prostitution operation actually called police saying she was getting out of dodge.
People living on Vine Street in Larksville say they knew something was going on at a home in their neighborhood and that is probably wasn’t anything good. One neighbor we talked to did not want to be identified for her safety.
“It was like a constant cars coming at all hours of the day, all hours of the night,” she said. “Men coming and going from cars, they would stay for a little while, they would leave, nonstop.”
She called the police and Police Chief John Edwards took to social media, posting a warning on Facebook to residents to report any suspicious activity in their neighborhood, but he never mentioned the home in question or what that suspect activity entailed. He suspected the people involved might see the post. He and his officers then hit the neighborhood, putting that same warning on vehicles and handing it out to neighbors.
“We went down there, half of my department went down there, parked four cruisers, banged on doors, and made our presence well-known,” says Edwards.
And it worked!
“It immediately stopped,” he said. “It went from Grand Central Station to a ghost town.”
The alleged prostitute knew her time in Larksville had come and gone.
“She called me very aware of it,” said Edwards. “She was scared and this was going to stop. She was probably going to be moving.”
We asked what the neighbor thought of what the police did.
“I loved it, it was great,” she said.
Chief Edwards says he opted to use this tactic as compared to a sting type operation because that could take several months to complete. He said this method achieved his ultimate goal: shutting down a criminal operation.
Larksville Police has used social media in the past to help track down people who were wanted for criminal activity, as well as to identify suspects in unsolved cases.